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The Community 
Resource Kit 

Guidance for people setting up and 
running community organisations 

Te Tari Taiwhenua 

Section 6 



Section 1 

Getting started 

Section 2 


Section 3 

Organisational structures 

Section 4 


Section 5 


Section 6 


Section 7 

Financial management 

Section 8 


Section 9 

Raising funds 

Section 10: Employment 

Section 1 1 : Communications 

Section 12: Information technology 


1 Introduction 

Types of meetings 

Formal meetings 
Less formal meetings 

I Checklists for well run meetings 

Before the meeting checklist 
During the meeting checklist 
After the meeting checklist 

3 Formal meetings 

Annual general meeting (AGM) 


7 Decision rules 

Difficulties in decision-making 

Why do difficulties arise? 
Managing conflict in a group 

Hui Maori 

Example of a hui held on a marae 
Flexibility of hui Maori 

I I Where to go for more information 

Online resources 
Other resources 


Meetings are essential for discussions, sharing information, making decisions, solving 
problems and developing relationships. It is important to run meetings that are efficient and 
productive, that empower staff and volunteers and generate activity. 

Types of meetings 
Formal meetings 

How to organise and run formal meetings, such as annual general meetings (AGMs) and hui 
Maori. This includes looking at different decision-making styles. 

Less formal meetings 

Most community organisations run less formal meetings which commonly include: 

checking the minutes or notes from the previous meeting 
checking correspondence and finances 
hearing progress reports on projects and workers' activities 
checking on the progress of your business plan (if you have one), and 
other matters important to the group. 

Less formal meetings are usually relaxed, but it's important to make clear decisions that 
are recorded with majority support. It's up to the organiser or chairperson of the meeting 
to make sure that happens. Even if the group isn't used to moving, seconding and voting 
on motions, it's good practice to adopt a formal resolution process for financial and other 
important decisions. This can be achieved by the meeting organiser or chairperson saying: 
"Is it agreed that we ?" and having the decision recorded. 

Checklists for well run meetings 

Well run meetings produce good results. If meetings aren't run well, you may not achieve 
what you set out to and participants may not want to come back. Meetings can also take 
up a lot of people's time so you need to make sure they are run smoothly. 

Below are some checklists for ensuring your meetings (both formal and informal) are 

Before the meeting checklist 

Effective meetings are planned in advance. Make sure that: 

the reason for people meeting face-to-face is clear 

• people are invited well in advance 

• the time and venue are appropriate for the people you are inviting (check for accessibility, 
childcare, time to fit with parenting responsibilities, etc.) 

• the objectives of the meeting have been communicated and understood 

• any reports and/or background papers or financial statements about which decisions need 
to be made are circulated before the meeting so they can be read and digested 

people have been reminded about any jobs that need to be completed by the time of 

the meeting 

the physical environment is prepared beforehand (check for warmth, fresh air, light, 

appropriate seating arrangements, water, etc.) 

appropriate visual aids are in place e.g. whiteboard and markers, sheets of paper, overhead 

projector, computer(s), data show, recording equipment, etc. 

Community Resource Kit Section 6: Meetings 1 

any other resources needed for the meeting have been collected 

any displays are assembled 

there is an agenda that people attending have had time to discuss and/or suggest items for 

the chair or facilitator knows they will be taking on that role 

the minute-taker knows they are responsible for taking the minutes. 

During the meeting checklist 

The way a meeting starts is critical to its success. People need to feel welcome and 
included, and if possible, have the opportunity to introduce themselves. 


It's the role of the chairperson or facilitator to: 

guide the meeting procedure 

make sure the meeting starts on time 

know whether it's appropriate to begin with a karakia or prayer (particularly if the group is 

Maori, Pacific Island or church-based). Some other words of welcome - such as inviting 

people to focus their minds on the matter at hand and share their joint purpose. 

welcome members and invite introductions 

be aware that people may face difficulties arriving on time (such as child-minding) or different 

cultures may follow different timeframes 

if there are latecomers, welcome them, give them a moment to settle, then tell them what 

the group is doing 

list any ground rules that have been developed by the members e.g. agreements about 

confidentiality or one person speaking at a time (see Ground rules) 

read and call for apologies 

where appropriate, advise of housekeeping details e.g. time and length of meeting breaks, 

location of toilet facilities, etc. 

• set a timeframe for the meeting and keep to it 

allow some time at the beginning of the meeting to add additional items to the agenda 

keep to the agenda 

use a range of tools or interventions to assist the group to complete its task, e.g. 

summarising, clarifying, reflecting, suggesting options, encouraging participation, raising 

energy levels, seeking agreement and resolving conflicts 

avoid voicing their own opinion unless it's necessary 

as part of the closure, ensure that it's clear what is to be done by whom and when 

thank everyone for attending the meeting 

where appropriate, end with a karakia, prayer or song. 


It's the role of the minute-taker to record agreed decisions and tasks from each meeting. 
Unless there's a particular reason, it's not necessary to record discussion. The minute-taker 

should record: 

• meeting time, date and venue 

names of those present and any apologies 
« name of meeting chair or facilitator and minute-taker 

the purpose of the meeting 

Community Resource Kit Section 6: Meetings 2 

the matters for discussion, agreed action points or decisions made, the person responsible 

for those actions and completion dates 

date, time, venue and purpose of next meeting. 

Ground rules 

Ground rules for a meeting should be developed by the group attending and should be 
adhered to by everyone. These rules should cover: 

respect for other people - no interrupting, no long monologues, no personal attacks or 

abuse. Allow space for everybody to express their views 

confidentiality - agreement on whether meeting content may be discussed outside 

the meeting 

responsibility - everybody agrees to take responsibility for timekeeping, keeping to the 

agenda and voicing opinions in the meeting rather than afterwards 

decision-making - how are decisions to be made, by consensus or voting? If consensus 

can't be achieved, at what point will alternative decision-making methods be used, and who 

will decide? 

After the meeting checklist 

After the meeting has finished, the following jobs need to be done: 

confirm any action plans and follow-ups 

get the minutes checked by the chair or meeting organiser and the minute-taker 

arrange the timeframe for circulation of minutes, new reports, background papers, and the 

next agenda 

circulate the minutes (sometimes on their own, sometimes not long before the next meeting 

when reports and background papers called for at the meeting can go out at the same 


check that the room is returned to the state it was in prior to the meeting. 

Formal meetings 

Formal meetings are often required by a group's constitution or governing rules. They have 
established agendas and procedures. The agenda deals with what's to be covered at the 
meeting, while procedures cover how that will be done. 

Annual general meeting (AGM) 

AGMs are usually a reporting requirement for any type of organisation. They are also an 
important opportunity for all stakeholders, e.g. customers, clients, employees, committee 
members, suppliers, etc, to review the state of the organisation and to report on its 

Tip: For more information on AGMs for different organisational structures such as 
charitable trusts, incorporated societies and various Maori structures, refer to the Te Puni 
Kokiri website: 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 6: Meetings 3 


An agenda is a list of items to be considered at a meeting and gives a meeting direction, 
structure and purpose. The responsibility for preparing the agenda lies ultimately with the 
secretary, with some assistance from the chairperson (and treasurer) where appropriate. 

The AGM agenda will depend on the legal structure of an organisation, how actively it's 
been operating during the past year and how much engagement the board is seeking from 
those using the services. 

Regardless of which type of agenda is chosen, preparation is vital so that the meeting runs 
smoothly and achieves what's needed. The chair, in particular, needs to be well briefed and 
prepared to manage the proceedings to meet its objectives. 

A typical AGM agenda might look like this: 

welcome by chairperson 


confirmation of minutes of the previous AGM 

business arising from the minutes 

• chairperson's report 

treasurer's report and presentation of audited financial statement 

chairperson stands aside if required 

election of office bearers 

general business 

guest speaker 

question time 
■ date of next meeting 

close and refreshments. 

Tip: Remember to stick to the agenda and not get side-tracked by other issues. Also 
keep an eye on the time - if the meeting's scheduled for three hours, make sure it lasts 
for no more than three hours. 

Adapted from Developing Your Organisation Manual: 


As mentioned earlier, there are established procedures for conducting formal meetings. 
These procedures might be recorded in an organisation's constitution or rules or be 
established more informally by the group's usual customs. The procedures can cover a 
huge variety of matters but some more common aspects include: 

voting rights - who's entitled to vote 
• quorums - the minimum number of people required to make a decision 
motions and resolutions - moving and seconding motions, etc 
points of order. 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 6: Meetings 4 

Voting rights 

Voting at formal meetings can be by: 

voice vote - if the issue is not very contentious 

show of hands - if a voice vote is not decisive 

ballot - especially if there are more than two outcomes, as when electing officers. 

In the case of a ballot, two scrutineers should be appointed - one from each opposing 
faction, if any. They then give each member a slip of paper with a list of candidates on it and 
members cross off names of the candidates they do not support. The scrutineers collect 
the slips and count them outside the meeting room. After counting is completed, the chair 
moves that ballot papers be destroyed. In the event of a tied vote, the chair has the final (or 
casting) vote. 


The rules governing groups generally require a quorum, or minimum number of people, to 
be present before any meeting can be held. The number can vary depending on the size 
of the organisation, but it is usually a third of the membership. Decisions at meetings are 
valid only if there is a quorum present. If a quorum is lost during the meeting, the meeting is 
declared closed. 

Motions and resolutions 

A motion is a formal recommendation a member puts to a meeting for consideration and 
debate, by saying "I move that ..." Motions are useful tools in the effective running of a 
meeting as they help avoid confusion and speed up action. There are two types of motions: 

1 . those that deal with the business of the organisation itself (substantive motions) 

2. those that deal with the way the meeting is run (procedural motions). 

Each motion put forward has to be supported (seconded) by another person before 
discussion. The chair asks the proposer to speak to the motion. Other members can add to 
this discussion. If there is no discussion, the motion is put to the meeting for a decision, and 
members indicate (by vote) whether they agree or disagree with it. Only one motion can be 
considered at a time and all motions should be minuted. If a substantive motion is passed, it 
becomes a resolution. 

Motions can be amended before they are voted on - the same procedure is used as when 
the motion was originally put, but the mover and the seconder of an amendment should not 
be the same as those of the original motion. If an amendment is not contentious (such as 
the correction of a name) and is acceptable to the mover and the seconder of the original 
motion, it may be incorporated without a vote. An amendment cannot be accepted if it goes 
against the general intention of the original motion. 

If an amendment is moved, it should be dealt with before the main (substantive) motion. 
The meeting then returns to the motion (amended or not) that was first discussed. If the 
amendment is carried it is incorporated into the motion, which is then further discussed. If 
required, other motions can be put to further amend it. 

Community Resource Kit Section 6: Meetings 5 

Motions and amendments flowchart 




Lapses for want 
of a seconder 









(and only the 



Speakers to 
the motion 


voted on 

Amendments may 

themselves be 

amended, but the 

Chair should not 

let this get out of 

hand, or people 

will lose track of 

what they are 

talking about 


The motion is amended 

Speakers to the 
amended motion 

Mover replies. Motion voted on 





SPLIT 50-50 

Chair uses a casting 
vote, usually for 
the status quo 

Tip: For more information on motions, see An Introduction to Formal Meeting Motions: 


Community Resource Kit 

Section 6: Meetings 6 

Decision rules 

In addition to the different procedures involved in making decisions, groups can also have 
different decision rules. A decision rule is the way the group makes a choice or reaches 
a decision which can be as important as the decisions themselves. There are no perfect 
decision-making rules - all can lead to situations where either no decisions are made or the 
decisions are inconsistent. The three most useful decision rules and their advantages and 
disadvantages are set out in the table below. 

Decision rule 

1. Decision by majority 

Requires support from more 
than 50% of the members 
of the group. Commonly 
achieved by voting or less 
commonly by polling (going 
around the room and asking 
each person to say where 
they stand). 


democratic (i.e. it's 

assumed that at least more 

people are for the decision 

than against it) 

one way to get a clear 


can be a quick process. 


can disguise a 49% 
opposition and could leave 
a sizeable opportunity for 

can be divisive in critical 
issues and create problems 
for group cohesion and 

2. Decision by consensus 

Requires that a majority 
approve a given course of 
action but that the minority 
agree to go along with it. 
May be used selectively (e.g. 
to carry out a major building 

allows for full discussion 
allows for wide acceptance 
and therefore support 
and implementation of the 

excellent for important 
or difficult decisions that 
will subsequently require 
considerable group 

can be very time- 
some psychological 
pressure can be placed on 
individuals holding out. 

3. Decision by unanimous 
decision rule: 

Requires everyone to agree 
on a given course of action. 

the most acceptable 
approach there is, as 
there is no opposition to a 

eliminates overt 
psychological pressure. 

the most difficult and time- 
consuming way to reach a 

if all decisions are made 
this way, a high degree of 
inefficiency and membership 
loss may result in the long 
term, especially among 
those who want to get 
things done quickly. 

Electoral systems such as plurality and dictatorship refer to the election of governments. 
However, dissatisfied people might use the terms if conflict arises and they feel excluded 
from decision-making. This results in there being no real commitment to the course of 
action chosen, which can lead to problems when a decision is implemented. 

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Section 6: Meetings 7 

Difficulties in decision-making 
Why do difficulties arise? 

There are times when groups find it difficult to make decisions during a meeting. Some 
reasons for this include: 

lack of philosophy, goal or clear plan 
inadequate leadership 
processes for decision-making are not clear 
conflicting loyalties or clash of interests 
interpersonal conflict 

• people feel unable to freely express differences 
cultural insensitivity 

hidden agendas 

fear of potential consequences 

people think it will take too long or it can't be done at all. 

Managing conflict in a group 

Conflict might arise within a group because of personal differences, ideological differences, 
misunderstandings or miscommunication. Rather than trying to avoid or suppress conflict 
and disagreement, take the opportunity to debate issues to more easily understand and 
resolve them. 

Resolving conflict 

There is no single right way to resolve conflict that may arise during meetings, but some key 
elements should be observed: 

• allow enough time to deal with conflict 

define the issue in terms that are clear, neutral and acceptable to all parties in conflict 

• have at least one person give special attention to the process - someone impartial or 

use reflective listening to explore the issues: summarise what you think is being said at 
regular intervals 

• have parties to the conflict identify their points of view and what their ideal solutions would 

It is often useful to pre-empt hostile conflict arising during a meeting. Try some of these 

set ground rules for the meeting 

agree on goals 

agree on a plan 

be clear about the way that decisions will be made (e.g. by consensus) 

offer the freedom to express feelings safely (i.e. without fear of attack or abuse) 

ensure feedback is constructive 

define the issues 

• group the options in broad categories 

rank ideas (e.g. each person chooses their three most favoured options) 

break into small groups to re-examine remaining ideas, and report back to the full meeting 

Community Resource Kit Section 6: Meetings 8 

brainstorm solutions by listing possible ways of dealing with the matter 

try out an idea then evaluate it 

suspend judgement - withhold opinions until more information has been obtained 


agree to abide by a majority vote 

agree to differ. 

Tip: For more ideas on how to make conflict productive see: http://human-resources- 


Mediation is a process of resolving conflict that can be used when the level of conflict within 
the group is beyond the group's own ability to resolve it. In these circumstances, it's useful 
to bring in a neutral third party to mediate (i.e. a mediator). Use an experienced mediator 
- mediation requires a high level of skill and could come from outside your organisation. 
Their role is to clarify the source of the dispute, facilitate the group identifying solutions for 
themselves, and establish a course of action when a particular solution is identified. The 
mediator should not inflict their own point-of-view on the group. 

Hui Maori 

Hui Maori are another instance of a formal meeting. Below is an example of how a hui on 
a marae may be organised. However, it is important to note that there are other ways of 
conducting hui Maori on and off the marae. This is dealt with briefly in the 'Flexibility of hui 
Maori' section. 

Example of a hui held on a marae 

Maori hui on marae are governed by the protocol (kawa) of the marae. These may differ 
depending on the iwi concerned. A meeting on a marae may be organised in the following 

powhiri and mihi (greetings) from tangata whenua 

mihi whakahoki (response) from those attending or visiting (manuhiri). The protocols 
governing who may speak and the order of speeches are dictated by the kawa of the 
tangata whenua (or at the discretion of the tangata whenua, another kawa may be adopted 
- for example in heavy rain, the guests may be called straight into the house). Speeches of 
tangata whenua and manuhiri generally include acknowledgement of meeting house and 
tupuna (ancestors), nga mate (deceased), then the mountain, river, chiefs and tribe of the 

speeches are usually followed by a supporting waiata (song) from the speaker's supporters 
the last manuhiri speaker lays down the koha (gift) at the conclusion of their speech 
tangata whenua invite those people present to hariru (shake hands/hongi/kiss) 
after the hariru, food is shared. This represents cleansing of the visiting party so they 
become noa (ordinary) and part of tangata whenua 
the meeting business is usually preceded by a karakia (prayer or ritual chant) 
the take (the reason for the meeting) is introduced 
• the kaupapa (procedure or format) is decided 
speakers stand and address the gathering. They have the right to be heard uninterrupted 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 6: Meetings 9 

decision-making is usually by consensus, though there may be a vote at the end of 

discussion to formalise a decision 

poroporoaki (farewell) when closure is reached by 'tying up any loose knots' and 

reconfirming mutual ties 

the hui ends with a karakia. 

Note: Hui held in venues other than marae may be run along similar lines. 

Flexibility of hui Maori 

In the book Korero Tahi: Talking Together, Joan Metge illustrates alternative procedures 
for conducting hui Maori that can be adapted to different situations from small group 
discussions to conference-type settings. 

Tikanga (rules) 

According to Metge, the tikanga (rules) governing discussion at hui Maori are not hard- 
and-fast directives (though the inexperienced are tempted to treat them as such). They 
are flexible guidelines that both encourage and require modification according to different 
circumstances e.g. whether the hui is being held on or off a marae complex or whether 
visitors are present or not. 

Despite this flexibility, Metge mentions five rules of basic importance at hui Maori: 

the use of physical space to express and mediate social relationships 
• the making of a distinction between tangata whenua (people of the land) and manuhiri 

the framing of discussion with karakia (prayer) and with ceremonials of greeting and farewell 
the vesting of responsibility for the management of discussion in participants as a group 
the appropriate use of one, two or three distinct modes of discussion. 

An example of flexibility 

One of the examples Metge uses to illustrate how hui Maori can be adapted, is the powhiri. 
This is the welcoming ceremony designed to introduce individuals and groups to each other 
to reduce feelings of strangeness, anxiety or hostility, so that everyone feels comfortable 
enough to engage in discussion. 

Metge advocates that in a marae setting, rather than the speeches being entirely or mainly 
in Maori, organisers of the hui could consider providing English translations or summaries of 
the speeches either during or after the powhiri. This used to be common on marae and in 
such situations as the Maori Land Court sittings where Pakeha were present. However, this 
practice has fallen out of favour in a drive to extend the use of te reo Maori (Maori language). 

For venues other than marae, a welcoming ceremony could be designed that uses the 
English language but also recognises the status of Maori as an official language and the 
presence of speakers of other languages. For example, the Maori language could be used 
to begin and end the ceremony with karanga (call of welcome) and karakia (prayer) and 
again in the first speech and in waiata. Then speakers from minority groups could be invited 
to use their own languages in speeches and songs, provided they explain the content in 

Such adaptations are possible throughout other parts of the hui (refer to Korero Tahi: 
Talking Together for further details). 

Community Resource Kit Section 6: Meetings 1 

Where to go for more information 

Online resources 

1 . (US) - . Online resource 
centre offering hands-on meeting advice for every possible situation. 

2. Te Puni Kokiri's Effective Governance - . See 
information on annual general meetings. 

3. SPARC Club Kit - 
for-Clubs/Running-your-Club/ . Committees, Roles and Meetings section includes an 
overview of how to run successful meetings. 

4. Aotearoa Youth Voices Toolkit - 
aotearoa-youth-voices-toolkit.html . Running meeting action guide gives information and 
tips on how to have successful meetings for planning and organising activities. 

5. Maori. org. nz - . Tikanga section has 
definitions and information on Maori customs and traditions. 

6. Developing Your Organisation Manual (AUS) - 
CPNS/Meetings . The Meetings chapter describes how to organise and run a 
successful meeting. 

7. Towards more effective meetings - Our community (AUS) - http://www. . Help sheets to ensure 
your meetings become more harmonious, productive and effective. 

8. Basic Guide to Conducting Effective Meetings - The Free Management Library (US) . Information and suggestions 
for managing meetings. 

Other resources 

1 . A Guide To: Successful Meetings, North Shore Community and Social Services. 

Covers the roles and responsibilities of the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, plus 
meeting procedures and guides to formal and informal meetings. See http://www.nscss. . 

2. The Meetings Manual: How to chair and participate effectively in meetings, Lora 
Mountjoy. A guide to the process of formal meetings, ways of running less formal 
meetings and tips for making meetings work well. 

3. The Zen of Groups - A handbook for people meeting with a purpose, Dale Hunter, 
Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor. Available from: 
books.htm . 

4. The Art of Facilitation, Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor. A training resource for 
understanding and teaching the secrets of group facilitation. Available from: http://www. . 

5. Korero Tahi: Talking Together, Joan Metge. Offers a procedure for managing group 
discussion in settings where Maori and non-Maori from different ethnic backgrounds 
meet to talk about common concerns. 

Community Resource Kit Section 6: Meetings 1 1